Revenge Relocation is coming!

It starts with Revenge Dining

So, I currently live in downtown Toronto, in a region that our Provincial Government has labelled as a grey zone.  What does this allow me to do?  Not much.  Certainly, not eat at a restaurant.  When this pandemic started, I remember people saying everything was going to change.  Habits were going to change and that of course, relocation was going to change. Companies would figure out that people could work anywhere and stop relocating their staff.  Everything would change, and life would not go back to normal. 

So, here I am in the grey zone, not able to go out and eat and what happens on the evening of Friday, March 20?  The provincial government sees that we have nice weather for the weekend and suddenly announces that people can go out and eat at patios. What happens the next day?  The patios are full – packed to the brim, with all those people who have been craving a little bit of normal for months (since November). What’s my point? People are dying to go back to normal, and they will go back to it far faster than anyone thought at the beginning of this pandemic.  What was I experiencing?  Revenge Dining.

Then it moves to Revenge Travel

I recently read an article that noted that Revenge Travel was coming our way. They defined this by noting that Canadians reported that they were going to travel once COVID vaccines rolled out according to The Globe and Mail reports. For instance, once non-essential travel is allowed, industry experts at Tourism Jasper anticipate an “unprecedented amount of travel.”

Just look at the statistics about airline travel in the United States. 

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1.5 million on March 21, setting a new high since the coronavirus outbreak devastated travel a year ago.

American’s bookings are now running just below 20% lower than 2019 levels. And remember, there is still a pandemic on.  People want to return to normal, and given half a chance, they will. 

Well, I am ready to predict Revenge Relocation.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of truth to the notion that companies will change their habits because of “work from anywhere.” But this is also exaggerated.  Has it only taken a year for us to forget that getting us into the same space, builds a creative quality to our work, that only closeness can bring?  In addition, companies can’t just allow someone to work “odd hours” in Europe for a Canadian head office, unless they want the risk of creating a taxable presence for the Home country entity (e.g., permanent establishment).  Finally, there is the time difference. 

Relocations have continued throughout the pandemic. And even though companies spent thousands on these relocations, they did it so that these people can work at home in many instances. They are not relocating them to work at home forever.  They want them in their place of business when work life returns to normal.  Yes, companies are ready to return to normal as well.

Add in Pent-up Demand

Many of our clients are already back up to historic levels. As a provider of corporate relocation services, All Points still sees some individual clients continuing to press the pause button on relocations, but it is a pause button, not a stop button. And other clients are back up or beyond 2019 figures.  Employee relocation services are most definitely still needed. I spoke to a client the other day who noted that his clients were calling for him to relocate more even though they have throttled their relocations. That is pent-up demand.

Skill set shortage is very real across the globe.

The skill set shortage in Canada (and in many other countries) is still very real for many positions, even with the pandemic.  All Points already reported that the Canadian government has recognized that the pandemic has put them way behind on immigration targets.  And…it is the skilled labour that they really want the most. How do you think governments around the world are going to fill the fiscal deficits that COVID-19 created? One way will be with immigration of skilled talent that becomes part of the tax base and a spur to economic growth for the country.

As of December, 2020 eight out of ten manufacturing companies in Canada still had labour shortages.

And in Canada, there are a huge number of IT firms who are only starting to flirt with relocation. They will need to reach abroad to get the talent they need in order to compete with the larger IT firms.

On top of this demand, then you need to consider those companies who always relocated and have  throttled relocation somewhat, as described above. That throttling held up their growth plans, and they want to grow again.

But where do the transferees want to go Mike?

Answer: hint: this particular country in question loves hockey and Tim Hortons.

Yes, according to Boston Consulting, the top country in the world as a choice for relocation for workers is Canada.  People in Canada may be surprised, but the perception as to how a country has handled COVID-19 has played a role in creating this acceleration of Canada to the top of the heap over the likes of the United States.

Time to update your relocation policies

For those clients for whom we provide employee relocation services, we are recommending policy reviews, if this has not been done already. One should do it before the acceleration of relocation. What is your competitive environment to get that talent? Does your policy need adaptation? Because, based on a) the demand for jobs in Canada and; b) the demand for Canada by workers and; c) the pent-up demand for global mobility at previously mobile companies, All Points is most definitely predicting that the back half of 2021 will start seeing a brand new phenomenon. Revenge Relocation. Remember it was predicted here first.

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